Packers Promote Rookie, Add Ex-Bucs Center Amid Injuries

Henry Black Promotion

Getty Henry Black #27 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball during Green Bay Packers Training Camp at Lambeau Field on August 20, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Another undrafted rookie has earned his place on the Green Bay Packers‘ active roster.

The Packers announced Tuesday afternoon they had signed rookie safety Henry Black to their 53-man roster from the practice squad, granting him a full-time opportunity with safety Raven Greene expected to miss time with a shoulder injury sustained in Week 13’s win.

Black has already played in a third of the Packers’ games this season as a game-day elevation, twice under the traditional call-up rules and another two times as a COVID-19 replacement. He played a career-high 13 snaps on defense against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 9 and has tallied six total tackles and a forced fumble across 24 total defensive snaps.

Black is now the second undrafted rookie to secure an active-roster contract with the Packers this season behind standout linebacker Krys Barnes.

The Packers also added fifth-year center Anthony Fabiano to their practice squad to fill the space Black left behind. Fabiano, along with two other centers, had been hosted for workouts in Green Bay last week as the team prepared to place starter Corey Linsley on injured reserve with a knee injury — a move which was made official last Saturday.

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Will Black Help Cover Greene’s Dime Role?

Black’s promotion seemed like a no-brainer with Greene injured. The rookie had flashed talent throughout training camp and logged quality reps for both the defense and special teams when given limited opportunities earlier this season. He was also the only safety the Packers had to choose from on their practice squad.

Now, the Packers have some choices when considering how best to fill Greene’s contributions, particularly as a dime linebacker. Will Redmond has occupied the role a few times this season, but the Packers likely aren’t strictly focused on him with two rookies — including seventh-round pick Vernon Scott — capable and at their disposal.

Fabiano Has Spent Time on Numerous NFL Squads

The Packers are hardly the first team to bring in Fabiano as a depth center for their practice squad. In fact, the 27-year-old Harvard graduate now counts the Packers as his ninth NFL team since entering the league as a UDFA in 2016.

Fabiano has spent time on the rosters of the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Washington Football Team, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but only two of those stops — back in his first two seasons — yielded any time on the active roster. He started one game each for the Browns (2016) and Colts (2017), playing nine total between the two teams.

The Packers could be forced to play the rest of the regular season without Linsley, so it helps to have someone like Fabiano in place for depth when necessary; however, Elgton Jenkins would seem to have the starting role locked down for the foreseeable future after a successful showing against the Eagles this past Sunday. The second-year, do-it-all offensive lineman has now made starts as right tackle, left guard and center for the Packers.

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